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What are the Best Places to Celebrate Thanksgiving Away?

best travel destinations for Thanksgiving away from home

Where can you go if you’re looking for a luxurious getaway travel destination for Thanksgiving this year? Our correspondent Jillian Tangen has a curated list of the best places to celebrate Thanksgiving away from home this year. 

Thanksgiving is high on many people’s list of favorite holidays. And while most people host the happy feast at someone’s home, some years your gang may decide that it’s time for something different. Maybe a fancy restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner. Or perhaps even a Thanksgiving getaway to a luxury destination. A place where someone else can do all the work, and everyone can enjoy the fun of the holiday. So where are the best places to celebrate Thanksgiving away from home this year? 

so much to love about Thanksgiving

We don’t know about you, but we love Thanksgiving – like, really love. It’s our family’s favorite holiday, where everyone comes together for delicious food and laughter. Not to mention the roasted turkey with all the trimmings, Dad’s cornbread, the annual turkey trot, football games galore. And of course, the endless array of amazing homemade desserts. What’s not to love?

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on the other hand, Thanksgiving does come with a few challenges

Actually, now that we think about it . . . there are the dishes and the cleanup, the days of prep work leading up to the holiday, the actual cooking itself. And the occasional undesired side dish of family drama

Having hosted our own share of Thanksgiving dinners, we’ve felt the exhaustion and the frustrations that sometimes come with this holiday. And we confess, every now and then we’ve thought to ourselves: wouldn’t it be nice to get away and let someone else do the cooking and the clean up for a change? Just this once?

If you’ve ever felt like that, or are just looking to shake turkey day up this year, or have family members living all over the world and need a central gathering spot, then this list is for you. 

best travel destinations for Thanksgiving away from home

best travel destinations for Thanksgiving away from home

 

is it possible to take a luxurious Thanksgiving getaway?

Why not let someone else take care of all the holiday kitchen drama?  From a post pistine turkey dinner to a fusion feast in Hawaii, these 12 luxury hotels and resorts around the world host Thanksgiving extravaganzas that may very well outshine your family affairs. 

And the best part?  You can bring the whole family.  Not to mention that at the end of the meal, you can take your post turkey nap on the beach or with a view overlooking one of Europe’s greatest cities if you so choose.  Trust us, these places will make you grateful you don’t have to cook the turkey this year. 

the Best Places to Celebrate Thanksgiving Away

1. The Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts

It only seems right to begin this list in the state that was the birthplace of Thanksgiving: Massachusetts. While there are numerous lovely hotels in Boston proper, for a warmer and more intimate vibe, our top pick is the Charles Hotel in Cambridge.

It’s just a short stroll away from Harvard Yard, and a few steps from the banks of the Charles River. The vibe is smart-rustic-chic and Henrietta’s Table is a wonderful place for a farm-to-table holiday meal that will be just the right mix of relaxed and refined. Afterward, you’ve got plenty of options for places to walk, run, or otherwise burn off dinner. And all of Boston awaits with a short ride on the T, should you be in the mood to shop on Black Friday.

best places to celebrate Thanksgiving away from home

The best places to celebrate Thanksgiving away from home: the Charles Hotel, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Courtesy Photo.

2. The Sagamore Resort, Adirondacks, New York

Located on the picturesque Lake George in the Adirondacks, the 133-year old Sagamore Resort features an 18 hole golf course, hiking, tennis and spa (as well as fishing and swimming during the summer months). For Thanksgiving weekend, the resort goes all out.

The long weekend starts with a Family Movie Night and campfire with s’mores on Thanksgiving Eve. On the day of, guests are invited to watch the Macy’s Parade in the Rec Center, or catch some football at the onsite pub. Guests have a choice of Thanksgiving dinner options: a more formal sit-down dinner at La Bella Vita or a family-friendly, more casual buffet in the ballroom.

The day after Thanksgiving, the resort has Gingerbread House making and a mini-golf invitational. And a tree lighting with Santa and Mrs. Claus, including hot cocoa and hot toddies, natch.

best places to celebrate Thanksgiving away from home

The best places to celebrate Thanksgiving away from home: the Sagamore, Lake George, New York. Courtesy Photo.

3. Gramercy Park Hotel, New York

Thanksgiving in New York City can be almost anything you want it to be: low-key, over-the-top, and anything in-between.As this is our home town, of course we have some ideas about how to make the most of it if you make the city your destination for a Thanksgiving getaway.

For starters, we suggest experiencing an iconic New York holiday tradition. Head to the American Museum of Natural History on Thanksgiving Eve to watch the balloons being blown up for the annual Macy’s Parade the following day. If you’re up for it, you catch the parade live along its 2.5 mile route from the Upper West Side down to Macy’s.

best places to celebrate Thanksgiving away from home

The best places to celebrate Thanksgiving away from home: the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City. Courtesy Photo.

But if we were you, we’d catch it on a large screen television from the cozy confines of an elegant room at the boutique Gramercy Park Hotel. It’s chic, discreet, and located in a neighborhood that won’t be over-run with tourists over the holiday weekend. You can go to where the crowds are if you like – but if you ask us, home base should be in a traquil spot.

Plus, the Thanksgiving meal at this hotel is one of the best in the city. Enjoy an Italian-inspired Thanksgiving feast at Danny Meyer’s charmingly rustic Maialino without having to step a foot outside. This year the restaurant will serve a special four-course prix fixe menu. Bookings are available beginning October 31. 

The Thanksgiving desserts at Maialino at the Gramercy Park Hotel. Courtesy Photo.

4. Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tennessee

Located on 4,200 acres in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, luxury retreat Blackberry Farm is an ideal place to spend the holiday.  The farm goes all out for Thanksgiving, turning the one day holiday into long weekend of delicious food, fun and activities that often books out months in advance. 

The weekend starts with a welcome reception, family bingo, family trivia, a Turkey Trot 5K, a turkey fry tradition of peanut soup and angel biscuits for lunch on the lawn, teen game night, flag football, a holiday cocktail clinic and, of course, special Thanksgiving dinners in the Barn and in the Dogwood, featuring Blackberry Farm’s renowned gourmet cuisine.

getaway travel destination Thanksgiving

The best getaway travel destinations for Thanksgiving: Blackberry Farm in Tennessee. Courtesy Photo.

5. The Sanctuary, Kiawah Island, South Carolina

There is no bigger holiday on Kiawah Island than Thanksgiving.  In fact, over 40,000 visitors will descend onto the small island over the weekend.  One highlight in particular is the island’s 5 star oceanfront hotel, The Sanctuary which hosts a Thanksgiving Feast buffet, Pumpkin Hockey, an early morning 5K Turkey Trot fun run and family sand sculpting. 

The morning after Thanksgiving, Santa arrives for a tree lighting ceremony complete with cookie and ornament decorating.  Outside of the hotel you will find the island’s annual Party in the Park, featuring low country food including a traditional oyster roast and drinks, face painting, games and music.

getaway travel destinations Thanksgiving

The best getaway travel destinations for Thanksgiving: The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island. Courtesy Photo.

6. the Montage, Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina

The Montage Palmetto Bluff is one of our favorite luxury hotels in the world. The property is set on almost 20,000 acres in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Here you’ll find 100-year-old oak trees, bike paths, and 35 miles of waterfront to explore. There’s an island filled with egrets, and graceful water fowl abound all over the property. The hotel provides a truly unforgettable level of beauty, serenity, and unstructured time together with whoever your traveling companions may be. That’s surprisingly hard to find, even at a 5-star hotel. So what better place to spend Thanksgiving?

The best getaway travel destinations for Thanksgiving: The Montage Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina. Courtesy Photo.

Depending on the size of your group, you can book a room in the main building. Or one of the many charming stand-alone cottages on the property. The cottages all have private screened-in porches so you can sit and watch the world go by. There’s also a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, spa and shooting club.

The best getaway travel destinations for Thanksgiving: The Montage Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina. Courtesy Photo.

Thanksgiving weekend activities include hayrides, a cruise in an antique yacht, and a “block party” with down-home Southern food on Thanksgiving Eve. On the day itself, there’s “gratitude yoga,” a football lounge, and a Thanksgiving Brunch with all trimmings from 11:00A to 3:00P. Friday can include a shopping trip, horse-back riding, and an Oyster Pan Roast under the night sky for dinner. The Palmetto Bluff Tree Lighting takes place on Saturday.

7. St. Regis Aspen, Colorado

Kick off the ski season when the slopes open on Thanksgiving day this year in Aspen.  At the St. Regis Aspen, you will find Thanksgiving-themed wine pairings, and afternoons that can be  spent either on the slopes or at the spa. 

The best getaway travel destinations for Thanksgiving: The St. Regis, Aspen, Colorado. Courtesy Photo.

At sundown, guests congregate by the front entrance for the ceremonial sundown champagne sabering. Then, they enjoy a four-course prix fixe menu that features offerings such as King Crab, Local Rabbit Crepinettes and Pecan Cake. Followed by nightcaps and roasted s’mores at the lodge afterwards. An added plus? There’s no need to feel guilty, because you can burn some serious cals on the slopes for the rest of Thanksgiving Weekend.

The best getaway travel destinations for Thanksgiving: The St. Regis, Aspen, Colorado. Courtesy Photo.

8. Four Seasons Ko Olina, Oahu, Hawaii

The Four Seasons Ko Olina brings new meaning to surf and turf when it comes to Thanksgiving.  The resort provides guests with a plethora of island flavored Thanksgiving feasts to choose from based on their tastes, including a pan-Asian Thanksgiving buffet at La Hiki, a Thanksgiving brunch at Fish House and Thanksgiving dinner at Noe, the resort’s Italian-meets-Hawaiian restaurant. 

The following day, Black Friday, sees the opening of the property’s Moonlight Market, which features acclaimed Hawaiian artists and artisans, including lauhala weavers, shell jewelry designers and coconut weavers to help you kick off your holiday shopping.  After shopping up an appetite the resort opens its annual La Hiki Asian Night Market Buffet, featuring crab claws and prime rib, authentic dim sun and adobo and a build your own ramen bar, giving guests an alternative to traditional holiday fare.

The best getaway travel destinations for Thanksgiving: The Four Seasons Ko Olina. Courtesy Photo.

9. The Goring, London, UK

Regular readers of Dandelion Chandelier will know that London is one of our favorite places to visit – anytime, any season. If you find yourself there for Thanksgiving, fear not. You’ll be able to have a jolly time, even though it’s not “their” holiday.

You could pop over early for the annual London Jazz Festival. Then celebrate dinner at the Michelin-starred Dining Room at The Goring. This charming small independent hotel is perfectly located near Buckingham Palace and St. James Park (it’s where Kate Middleton spent the night before her Royal Wedding to Prince William).

The best getaway travel destinations for Thanksgiving: the Goring Hotel in Belgravia, Central London. Courtesy Photo.

The six-course menu for Thanksgiving is filled with high end dishes like Venus Clam Chowder with Caviar, Truffle Stuffed Quail and BBQ Langoustines with Roe. Don’t worry though, the traditional turkey is still in place for one of the courses, and is served with parsnip, roasted squash and sprout tops.  A duo of dessert courses includes a walnut and pumpkin cake with Beauvale cheese, and pecan pie with lime and crème fraîche.

The best places in the world to celebrate Thanksgiving away from home: The Goring, London. Courtesy Photo.

And for the rest of the long weekend, you’ll be able to shop to your heart’s content in London, visit some outstanding museums, and visit the incredible Food Hall at Harrods – just in case you’re still hungry.

10. Hassler Roma, Italy

Why note roam to Rome this year for the long holiday weekend? It’s a city that loves family, and faith and gratitude. An ancient place filled with monuments, parks, and fascinating history. If you decide to go, we highly recommend that you stay at our favorite hotel in Rome, the Hassler.

The best getaway travel destinations for Thanksgiving: Rome, Italy. Courtesy Photo.

At Hassler Roma near the Spanish Steps, Thanksgiving is distinctly Italian. The hotel’s Salone Eva Restaurant & Bar will have holiday favorites such as turkey with chestnut stuffing in cranberry sauce accompanied by sweet and sour corn, brussel sprouts with butter, caramelized endive, cabbage sautéed with apples and a selection of traditional cakes. Since it is not possible to remain indifferent to Rome’s own seasonal favorites, the menu also includes dishes such as Ricotta cheese and porcini mushroom ravioli and pumpkin lasagna.

Afterward, take a few turns up and down the Spanish Steps to burn off some of your dinner (and to make room for dessert!)

The best places in the world to celebrate Thanksgiving away from home: The Hotel Hassler in Rome. Courtesy Photo.

11. The St. Regis Singapore

Thanksgiving dinner at a French restaurant in Singapore?  Yep, anything is possible and at Brasserie Les Saveurs at The St. Regis you will find an exquisite Thanksgiving dinner buffet that includes a seafood medley with Fine de Claire oysters and Alaskan king crab, French cheeses, lobster macaroni and cheese and a carving station with roasted turkey and leg of lamb.  The following day head to the nearby Orchard Road to get the jump on your holiday shopping at one of Asia’s most famous shopping streets.

The best places in the world to celebrate Thanksgiving away from home: The St. Regis in Singapore. Courtesy Photo.

12. Motu Teta, Tahiti

Want to get as far away from home as possible? We suggest booking Tahiti’s Motu Teta, a private island located in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean on the Rangiroa atoll. There you can enjoy some serious R&R before heading off on a midnight lobster hunt. Proof that you truly can celebrate the holiday in every corner of the world in any way possible, your private staff will prepare and serve any lobsters you catch as your Thanksgiving meal beachside the following day.

The best places in the world to celebrate Thanksgiving away from home: Motu Teta Private Island in Tahiti. Courtesy Photo

the Best Places to Celebrate Thanksgiving Away

So what are you waiting for?  Give thanks and book!  And whether you decide to invite your relatives or not, that’s up to you.

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Jillian Tangen is the Head of Research at Dandelion Chandelier. Formerly, she was a Senior Research Analyst at McKinsey & Co and Analyst at Shearman & Sterling. She is an avid fan of Nordic design, having owned an independent lifestyle store and sales agency focused on emerging Scandinavian design. Jillian lives in NYC and is married with three young children. She loves cross country skiing, the New York Rangers, reading, travel and discovering new brands.

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